Update: July 19, 2021
St. Louis sports icons Ozzie Smith and Craig Berube join the Legends Charity Challenge presented by World Wide Technology with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson.
Officials of the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson announced today that former St. Louis Cardinals Hall-of-Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith and St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup-winning head coach Craig Berube are the third and fourth members of the tournament’s signature event, the Legends Charity Challenge presented by World Wide Technology. Smith and Berube join golf’s greatest champion Jack Nicklaus and Missouri native and World Golf Hall-of-Famer Tom Watson to create a powerhouse foursome that will compete in an exhibition match to benefit charity.
The Legends Charity Challenge will take place on Saturday, September 11, following the final pairing of the tournament’s second round, and will begin on Hole No. 10 at Norwood Hills Country Club. “Bringing together two St. Louis legends like ‘The Wizard’ and our Stanley Cup-winning coach Craig Berube, with arguably the greatest golfers of all time, is a dream come true for our inaugural event,” said Nick Ragone, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Ascension. “It’s going to be one highlight of so many for St. Louis fans and most important, proceeds will benefit two amazing charitable organizations.”
Smith began his Hall-of-Fame career with the San Diego Padres in 1978, where his talent as an infielder was evident from the start. He joined the Cardinals following the 1981 season and helped lead the team to three National League pennants and the 1982 World Series title. Over his 19-season major-league career, Smith received 13 Gold Glove Awards and was named to 15 All-Star teams. Known as “The Wizard,” Smith combined athletic ability with acrobatic skill to become one of the greatest defensive shortstops of all time. He retired in 1996, the same year the Cardinals retired his number, and in 2002, was elected in his first year of eligibility to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Berube played more than 1,000 NHL regular season games from 1986 to 2003 before entering the coaching ranks of professional hockey. In 2016, he was named the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves, once an affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. Berube moved into an assistant head coaching role with the Blues the following season before taking over the head coaching responsibilities on an interim basis in November 2018. The Canadian led the St. Louis Blues to the organization’s first Stanley Cup title in 2019, and in June of that year the Blues dropped the “interim” tag from Berube’s title and officially named him the 26th head coach in the franchise’s history.
The pairings for this marquee competition will feature Nicklaus and Smith versus Watson and Berube in a nine-hole team scramble, match-play format.
The teams will compete for a $25,000 purse to benefit First Tee of Greater St. Louis and PGA REACH.
Each hole will be given a dollar value that will be awarded per hole to the winning team’s charity. Nicklaus and Smith will compete for PGA REACH, with Watson and Berube teeing it up for First Tee of Greater St. Louis.
With tickets for the 2021 Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson now on sale, tournament officials announced a new charity event to be headlined by golf’s greatest champion Jack Nicklaus and Missouri native and World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Watson.
“St. Louis has long been a passionate sports town, with a great history in golf—highlighted most recently during the 2018 PGA Championship—and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be a part of this inaugural PGA TOUR Champions event,” Nicklaus said. “I was fortunate to play a U.S. Open and PGA Championship at Bellerive, and the Ryder Cup at Old Warson 50 years ago this September.
“There is a special connection I have with Norwood Hills Country Club through my good friend and longtime caddie, Bruce Edwards,” said Watson.
The inaugural Legends Luncheon will take place on Thursday, July 29, at Norwood Hills Country Club. The Legends Luncheon will showcase Nicklaus and Watson sharing stories from their playing days and a Q&A with attendees. Luncheon attendance will be limited to the purchase of tables of 10 with all proceeds benefiting charity, including the tournament’s three primary beneficiaries. Support for the Legends Luncheon can be secured through emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the tournament office at 314-938-2828.
Nicklaus’ and Watson’s involvement with St. Louis’ inaugural PGA TOUR Champions event will also extend to the Legends Charity Challenge presented by World Wide Technology during tournament week on Saturday, September 11. Taking place at Norwood Hills Country Club, the Legends Charity Challenge competition will feature Nicklaus and Watson together with two additional celebrity members to create a powerhouse foursome that will play a nine-hole exhibition match to benefit charity.
Additional celebrities and details on how to support the event or be part of the fun will be announced in the coming weeks.
“I also competed as defending champion in the 1960 United States Amateur Championship at St. Louis Country Club,” said Nicklaus. “I look forward to being back to St. Louis in September as a part of this senior event at Norwood Hills, and joining Tom Watson in July for the Legends Luncheon. Outside of having professional golf return to St. Louis—which is good for both the region and PGA TOUR Champions—I applaud the event’s mission to give back to and enhance the north St. Louis community.”
“I am very much looking forward to joining the great Jack Nicklaus for the Legends Luncheon and the Celebrity Challenge on Saturday, September 11th.”The Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson is going to be a great addition to the St. Louis sports scene,” said Watson. “The fans will love watching all the great players, the players will enjoy everything St. Louis and Norwood Hills have to offer and the tournament is going to make a positive charitable impact within North County.”
The first playing of the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson is set for the week of Sept. 6-12 after being forced to reschedule from October 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Tickets for the tournament can be purchased at ascensioncharityclassic.com. Two types of weekly admission options are available, a Clubhouse Ticket as well as a Grounds Ticket. Daily tickets are also offered. Tickets start at $20, and kids 16 and under can attend for free with a ticketed adult. Please note that should the tournament be hosted without fans because of the continued impact of the pandemic, ticket holders will receive a full refund. Several charities have been identified as beneficiaries of the Ascension Charity Classic and its coinciding events, including Marygrove, a residential facility for children and teens; the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis; and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis. “It’s such a thrill and honor to have the greatest golfer of all-time, Jack Nicklaus, help kick off the inaugural Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson, and to be joined by eight-time major winner and Missouri native Tom Watson will make this a truly special event,” said Nick Ragone, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Ascension
Three PGA players including Hale Irwin serve as ambassadors for Ascension Charity Classic at Norwood Hills CC
The Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson, the PGA TOUR Champions event that will be hosted at Norwood Hills Country Club, announced earlier that three players, including World Golf Hall of Fame and all-time PGA TOUR Champions career winner Hale Irwin, have joined the team as brand ambassadors for the inaugural tournament, which will take place this fall during the week of Sept. 6-12.
Irwin, a Missouri native, has 45 PGA TOUR Champions victories, including six major championships, and he has claimed two Charles Schwab Cup titles. Irwin is a 20-time winner on the PGA TOUR, including three U.S. Open victories.
Hale Irwin will be joined on the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson ambassador team by former The Open Champion Tom Lehman and four-time PGA TOUR winner Billy Andrade. Lehman has notched 12 PGA TOUR Champions victories, including three senior major championship wins and two Charles Schwab Cup titles, while Andrade has recorded three victories since turning 50.
“We couldn’t have asked for three more engaging and representative brand ambassadors for the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson,” said Nick Ragone, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Ascension. “Both Hale Irwin and Tom Lehman have been honored by the PGA TOUR with the Payne Stewart Award in recognition of their character, sportsmanship, and dedication to charitable giving, and Billy Andrade is a recipient of the Charlie Bartlett Award, given to playing professionals by the Golf Writers Association of America for their unselfish contributions to society. This tournament is all about giving back and investing in underserved communities, and all three of these players have spent a career doing that as well.”
“I am proud to be an ambassador for our newest tournament on the PGA TOUR Champions,” said Irwin. “Ascension’s commitment to take the lead in bringing professional golf back to St. Louis and to Norwood Hills Country Club will greatly benefit the region. The opportunity to reconnect with golf fans and many friends during tournament week at the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson, while being a part of raising money for North County St. Louis charities, is exciting.”
“There was a genuine sense of excitement when we first learned that the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson would be a regular PGA TOUR Champions stop,” said Lehman. “It means that we’ll be visiting St. Louis every year, which we know is one of the great sports towns and golf regions in the country. Just seeing the buzz and excitement at the 2018 PGA Championship reminded us of how much we appreciate coming back to St. Louis, and I couldn’t be more proud of being a tournament ambassador.”
“I was honored to be invited to the initial press conference in October 2019 to introduce the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson, and was able to take a tour of Marygrove, one of the charitable beneficiaries of the tournament,” said Andrade. “It was a wonderful experience to see first-hand how this tournament will make a difference for the community. Working with both Ascension and World Wide Technology, St. Louis has become something of a second home for me, and I can’t wait to compete at Norwood Hills in September.”
Recent PGA TOUR Champion winners include “rookie” sensations Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson. Both are members of an exclusive club of only four players to win their first two PGA TOUR Champions starts. Other winners from last season include names like Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Miguel Angel Jimenez, and Bernhard Langer.
In October 2019, Ascension and the PGA TOUR Champions announced a four-year partnership to host a new professional golf tournament in St. Louis. The Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson will support North St. Louis County communities and surrounding areas, including the tournament’s three primary beneficiaries: Marygrove, a residential treatment and support facility for children and teens struggling with debilitating emotional and behavioral issues resulting from abuse, neglect and other trauma; the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis; and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis.
For more information about the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson, including ticket, pro-am and hospitality availability, visit the Ascension Charity Classic website at ascensioncharityclassic.com. For the latest news and updates on social media, follow the tournament on Twitter at @ascensionccg, on Facebook at facebook.com/ascensioncharityclassic and Instagram at @ascensioncharityclassic.
New Sponsor Added in Mid July:
fficials of the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson announced today its newest Founding Partner, Missouri Division of Tourism. Both the State of Missouri and the tournament are committed to supporting the region, including generating meaningful charitable dollars in North St. Louis County and the surrounding areas that are working to foster hope and better communities.
“I am very pleased that the State of Missouri will join other distinguished sponsors in support of this event,” said Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. “I am grateful for the Ascension Charity Classic’s on-going philanthropic efforts and support of the North St. Louis County region. This official PGA TOUR Champions event will be a great opportunity to promote some of Missouri’s greatest tourism assets with the world.”
Additionally, Missouri Division of Tourism has joined forces with Centene Corporation to serve as a co-presenting sponsor of the Ascension Charity Classic’s Legends Luncheon set to take place later this month on July 29 at Norwood Hills Country Club. As a result, the name of the tournament’s new charity event is now the Legends Luncheon presented by Centene and Missouri Division of Tourism.
“The Ascension Charity Classic creates a terrific opportunity to share Missouri with a global audience, and further enhances our state’s reputation as a premier travel and golf destination,” said Stephen Foutes, Director of the Missouri Division of Tourism. “Golf fans, and viewers, are sure to enjoy watching this field of Champions Tour players in action, while also appreciating the tournament’s charitable components that help make this event a big win for Missouri.”
In related news, the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson is proud to highlight the tournament’s most recent additions as official sponsors, including Michelob Ultra (Official Beer Partner), Christian Hospital (Official First-Aid Partner), Major Brands (Official Wine and Spirits Partner), Essence Healthcare (Official Volunteer Sponsor), Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company (Official Non-Alcoholic Beverage Sponsor), and Le Meridien St. Louis Clayton (Official Hotel Partner).
“We are gratified to see the extraordinary level of engagement and commitment by so many leading corporations and area organizations,” said Nick Ragone, Ascension EVP & Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. “The momentum is building and we’re expecting an inaugural tournament that will surpass everyone’s expectations in terms of being able to give back to our charities and the entire North St. Louis County community.”
The Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson will be one of the premier Regular Season events on the PGA TOUR Champions in 2021, which will give way to the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs — a season-ending, three-tournament series used to determine the TOUR’s season-long champion. Due to the circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, PGA TOUR Champions has combined its tournaments in 2020 and 2021 to form one season, and the next Charles Schwab Cup champion will be crowned in November 2021 at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
About Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson
The Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson is an official event on the PGA TOUR Champions operated by Tournaments for Charity, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit entity. This 54-hole stroke play golf tournament features 81 PGA TOUR Champions professionals competing for a $2 million purse at historic Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri. The event is designed to showcase the best golf on the PGA TOUR Champions for the enjoyment of spectators and to benefit local charities in the North St. Louis County area and beyond. All three official rounds will be internationally televised on the Golf Channel. For more information, visit ascensioncharityclassic.com.
Based in St. Louis, Ascension is the largest non-profit and Catholic health system in the U.S., with more than 160,000 associates and 2,600 sites of care across 19 states and the District of Columbia. In keeping with the organization’s mission to deliver compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable, all proceeds from the Ascension Charity Classic tournament will be donated to local non-profits. Last year, Ascension provided $2.4 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs across the country.
Emerson (NYSE: EMR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial and residential markets. Our Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Commercial & Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information visit Emerson.com.